Back in January, President Trump gave his State of the Union and mentioned the threat of Central American gang MS-13, which has spread inside the U.S. thanks to lax immigration policies. At the time, there was some pushback from mystery-hacking victim Joy Reid who went on MSNBC to say, “he makes it sound like the biggest issue in the United States, the biggest threat is MS-13, a gang nobody that doesn’t watch Fox News has ever heard of.” Meanwhile, back in the real world, states around the country were dealing with murders by MS-13 gang members.
Monday, Gov. Cuomo of New York announced a $7.5 million expansion of his efforts to fight the gang on Long Island:
The funding will support a comprehensive, multi-agency campaign to reduce gang violence, divert at-risk youth away from gang life, and support community organizations that work directly with local populations.
“With these investments, New York is sending a message loud and clear that gang activity has no place in our communities,” Governor Cuomo said. “By taking a holistic approach to the task of combatting gangs on Long Island, we can help protect our neighborhoods and provide opportunities to at-risk youth that will break the cycle of gang violence once and for all.”
The $7.5 million is in addition to $18.5 million to fight MS-13 which was announced previously. Someone should tell Joy Reid that New York is spending $26 million to fight a gang no one has ever heard of. The additional money is being spent on a “holistic” approach which includes a combination job training and after-school programs designed to keep kids busy and away from gang members who might try to recruit them. One reason Cuomo is spending so much money on combatting MS-13 is that the gang has been making news recently. In March, the Washington Post published a story which opened like this:
The old minivan appeared near the school on a Tuesday morning, its Illinois plates the only thing out of place in the blue-collar suburbs of central Long Island. But as backpack-toting teenagers passed by on their way to Brentwood High, the van’s doors suddenly swung open.
Out sprang members of the violent street gang MS-13, armed with baseball bats.
They attacked three 16-year-old students they suspected of being rivals before driving off. When police spotted the van in the same neighborhood the following afternoon and surrounded it at gunpoint, the MS-13 members were in the midst of trying to abduct a fourth.
“We were going to take him somewhere private and beat him to death,” said Miguel Rivera, 20, according to a Suffolk County indictment…
All but one of those arrested attended Brentwood, according to Suffolk County police. Three were unaccompanied minors who had been caught at the border and then placed in the community by a federal refugee program.
Last month, the gang made more headlines with a threat to kill Long Island police officers at random:
The notorious MS-13 gang recently told its membership to randomly murder a Long Island cop, with the NYPD in turn placing its officers on high alert, a police source said…
The gang-banger declared “the police have been making too many arrests and it’s time to take the streets back and take out a cop like we do in El Salvador,” the memo said…
The violent gang was blamed for more than 30 murders on Long Island since 2013, but has come under increasing law enforcement scrutiny in the last year.
Thirty murders in five years is a significant problem, even if Joy Reid has never heard about it. But even as cops are cracking down (at some personal risk) and the Governor is spending money on holistic programs designed to stop the spread of the gang, there’s a problem. Last month, Gov. Cuomo held a press conference at which he said, “We’re going to put them on notice today, if they continue, the state will sue them. Period.”
Who is Cuomo ready to sue? No, not MS-13. He was talking about Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agents (ICE). So on the one hand, the governor is spending $26 million on summer jobs and after-school programs, while on the other hand, he’s threatening federal immigration authorities for being too aggressive in trying to take criminal illegal aliens off the streets. That doesn’t strike me as the “loud and clear” message Cuomo promised to send. If anything it seems like a mixed message and probably not the best way to rid the streets of violent MS-13 gang members.